PKN Orlen Plans IPA Plant

19.05.2020 -

Polish refining and petrochemical company PKN Orlen has purchased a license and basic design for use in an isopropanol (IPA) plant it plans to build at its site in Plock.

The facility is part of program to expand phenol output at the site. In February, Honeywell announced it was licensing its UOP Q-Max and phenol 3G technologies to Orlen for a 200,000 t/y phenol unit. The acetone byproduct will be used to feed the new IPA plant.  

“The project is an example of our well thought-out strategy of shifting our portfolio from commodity to specialty products in response to growing customer expectations,” said Zbigniew Leszczynski, member of Orlen’s management board, development.

Orlen added that if the project goes ahead, it will be the world’s fifth company to implement the IPA technology. It plans to begin basic engineering design work and launch the selection process to secure a general contractor in the coming months.

IPA has a wide range of applications, including for hand sanitizers, which has seen unprecedented demand because of the coronavirus pandemic. Orlen said that as well as adding value to its business and the Polish economy, the IPA plant would also make the country more secure in the event of a future epidemic.

Catherine MacGregor, president of Technip Energies, said: “Our innovative IPA process not only addresses an urgent global need, but its flexibility also provides the option to integrate the production and purification of IPA with our process for converting acetone to cumene (ATC), enabling phenol producers to balance solvent production.”

Several companies have announced plans in recent weeks to expand or shift production to make IPA, including Ineos, ExxonMobil, Honeywell, Huntsman, Seqens, among others.